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Emergency Cat & Dog Sample Taking Instructions

At Gemini Genetics, we work in association with US based cloning company, ViaGen Pets & Equine.

At Gemini, we perform the genetic preservation and cell culture stages of cloning – where genetics are preserved, and genetic material replicated respectively. To complete the cloning process, the samples are sent to ViaGen Pets & Equine. The below information relates to the genetic preservation and cell culture processes we perform at Gemini Genetics.

Please note that if the body has been frozen prior to submission, the viability of the tissue sample for cloning is likely to be reduced. The sample may be non-viable. In submitting a frozen sample, the animal owner is accepting responsibility of the likelihood for reduced viability or non-viability of the sample versus a non-frozen specimen.

Items Required

  • Diluted chlorhexidine based sterilising agent e.g. hibiscrub
  • Diluted alcohol surgical wash
  • Hair clippers for shaving area prior to sampling
  • 6mm biopsy punch
  • Sterile scalpel and forceps
  • Sterile pots containing standard veterinary saline to suspend samples post sample taking.
  • Marker pen for labelling pots for sample identification
  • Styrofoam box for sample shipping
  • Ice packs
  • Bubble wrap / cotton wool
  • Gemini Genetics storage form 
  • Gemini Genetics animal health declaration form (Canine or Feline)

Sample Types

For genetic preservation for cloning, we need a skin sample.

We ask to receive three to four independent samples from more than one tissue type.

Post mortem sample taking

These are post mortem instructions ONLY.

For post mortem sample taking, we ask to receive a skin sample from the ear plus skin samples from the body.

When taking a sample from the ear, the whole ear can be sent. Alternatively, a minimum area of 2cm x 2cm can be submitted. The ear must be shaved and sterilized prior to sampling with a chlorhexidine-based wash (e.g. hibiscrub) followed by a diluted surgical alcohol wash.

Please submit 3 biopsy samples from other areas of the body in addition to the ear tissue.

Aseptic Preparation of Biopsy Site

The biopsy area must be shaved and sterilized prior to sampling with a chlorhexidine based wash (e.g. hibiscrub) followed by an alcohol wash.

Tools and Technique

Collect 3 tissue samples, in addition to the ear sample. Aseptic techniques must be followed at all times. Below are recommended tissue types:

  • Neck skin samples: These should be obtained from the crest of the neck. If unable to obtain neck skin samples, send samples from chest and/or tail sites.
  • Chest skin samples: These should be obtained from the underside of the chest between the front legs. If unable to obtain chest skin samples, send samples from neck and/or tail sites.
  • Tail skin samples: These should be obtained from the underside of the tail dock. If unable to obtain tail skin samples, send samples from the neck and/or chest sites.
  1. After the sample area has been sterilized, stretch the skin.
  2. Insert in the biopsy punch through the layers of the skin whilst holding it perpendicular to the skin.
  3. Lift the biopsy cylinder with a pair of forceps and cut at the base.

If a biopsy punch is not available, a sterile scalpel and forceps can be used. Cut through all the layers including the epidermis, dermis, and the most superficial parts of the subcutis. Remove (2cm X 2cm) tissue samples with sterile forceps.

Store each tissue sample in a separate sterile container and refrigerate at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch the samples. Suspend samples in standard veterinary saline only. No other agent should be used as this may affect sample viability.

DO NOT FREEZE at any point. Samples should be sent as soon as possible. You have 5 days after animal passing to submit a skin sample for genetic preservation.

Live sample taking

Live sample taking should only be conducted upon consent from a certified veterinarian and approval that the live sample taking is of no detriment to the health or welfare of the animal. Live sample taking to be completed by a certified veterinarian only.

Samples required;

2x 6mm skin biopsy punches from inner thigh back left leg

2 x 6 mm biopsy punches from inner thigh back right leg.

Please consult this video here for a demonstration of the live sample taking process.

The certified veterinarian undertaking the sample taking should ensure appropriate anaesthesia for the animal and follow aseptic techniques in the sample taking. Area should be shaved ahead of the sample taking and washed with a chlorhexidine-based wash e.g. hibiscrub, followed by a wipe over with diluted alcohol surgical wash. This is the same aseptic preparation as is needed ahead of operating on an animal. All equipment used must be sterile.

Once samples are taken, they should be transferred to sterile pots and suspended in standard veterinary saline. Refrigerate samples at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch the samples.

DO NOT FREEZE at any point.

The certified veterinarian must ensure appropriate post sample taking suturing for the animal, post sample taking sterilisation of the sample area and any follow-on care in pain, infection and complication prevention post sample taking.

Labelling Instructions

Using a permanent marker, clearly label one sterile container for each sample with the following:

  • Tissue type
  • Collection date
  • Date of death
  • Species
  • Animal & Client Name
  • Sex of the Animal
  • Microchip Number

Refrigerate at 4 degrees until ready to dispatch – DO NOT FREEZE at any point

Items Required For Sample Shipping

Sample Packing For Shipping

  1. Place one/ two frozen ice packs in the bottom of a Styrofoam box
  2. Wrap the samples pots in cotton wool / bubble wrap
  3. Place a layer of cotton wool / bubble wrap above the ice packs
  4. Place the wrapped pots on the layer of bubble wrap above the ice packs in the box.
  5. Enclose any paperwork in an envelope/Ziploc bag
  6. Replace the Styrofoam lid and seal.
  7. Dispatch to Gemini Genetics as soon as possible. Please contact us if carriage is required on 01948 668 057.

Important Note: Samples should be sent to us as soon as possible and no later than 5 days after the animal has passed away.

A private courier is available for UK clients upon request. Please contact Gemini Genetics in advance of the sample taking to discuss and arrange transport for the samples.

Do not allow the sample bags to sit directly on the ice packs.

DO NOT freeze the samples at any point.

Please follow this link for our video guide on sample packing:

Shipping Address

Gemini Genetics

Chapel Field Stud

Ash Lane




SY13 4BP

Emergency Contact Number

Tel: 01948 668 057 (Mon-Sun 8am-5pm)

Tel: 07710 778 016 (out of hours contact)

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